THE WELTKULTUREN MUSEUM AT A GLANCE
Thanks to Frankfurt’s central situation within Europe, the city quickly became a hub of international trade from its earliest days. As a result, it has a long history of rich cultural diversity. Since Frankfurt’s citizens travelled widely, they also developed a keen interest in the core scholarly and scientific issues of their day. That interest is reflected in the Weltkulturen Museum’s collection, which today facilitates and supports the museum’s role as a key location for intercultural exchanges and insights.
The collection of the Frankfurt Weltkulturen Museum comprises about 65,000 objects from across the continents and island states, 100,000 ethnographic photographs and films, and library holdings of 50,000 international books and journals. The holdings cover a wide period, including prehistoric artefacts, individual collections from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, as well as pieces newly acquired this century. These objects not only tell fascinating stories from their societies of origin, but are also valuable sources for Frankfurt’s history of science and the present production of knowledge. Since the 1970s, the work of the museum has addressed such issues as non-western aesthetics and definitions of art. In 1985, this led to a major focus on collecting contemporary art from outside Europe. Today, the museum's holdings include a significant number of art works by renowned international artists from Oceania, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas, in addition to the corresponding collections of artefacts.
The Weltkulturen Museum sees itself as a location for interdisciplinary cooperation. As evident in modern societies, there is an intimate connection between people and things with material objects playing a major role in initiating cultural change. Using an interdisciplinary approach and working with scholars and artists, the ethnological issues related to and arising from the collection’s artefacts are further defined and developed. This process encourages new perspectives on ethnographical objects as central and universal bearers of knowledge, enhancing both an awareness of changes in meaning and the topicality of ethnological collections in our own society and globally.
Education as a key concern
In the Weltkulturen Museum, experimentation and educational work are inextricably linked. Our multifaceted range of education services, along with various series of public events, addresses people of all ages and promotes transcultural thinking with great relevance to contemporary life. Also the youngest visitors are invited to to explore the museum’s collections and their own culturally diverse city.
With its interdisciplinary exchanges with artists and scholars, its international contacts and cooperation projects with museums, universities, art schools and other cultural institutions, the Weltkulturen Museum expands its potential audience within Frankfurt while also enhancing its appeal for an international public, tourists and visitors of the Frankfurt trade fairs.
The Museumsufer location
The Weltkulturen Museum is located at the heart of Frankfurt’s museum quarter, the “Museumsufer” embankment of the River Main. Its immediate neighbours are the Museum of Applied Art, the German Architecture Museum and the German Film Museum, adding a further dimension to the interdisciplinarity of the Weltkulturen Museum’s programme. This setting, embedded in a range of other institutions, allows visitors an even more intensive encounter with the themes and questions addressed in the Weltkulturen Museum, and promotes the idea of the museum visit as an individual research expedition.